When He Grows Up
While performing my best sloth impression on our couch, my son curled up next to me. "Mommy?" He asked as he held my face between his hands. I used to think this was a sign of his love, but no. It's a way to assure that my attention will not wander.
"Mommy, when I grow up, I'm going to be a Pirate."
"A pirate, huh? Well, I guess that's alright." I was kind of out of it.
"No, no, Mommy. Heh heh heh. Pirate. Not Pirate," He corrected me with a giggle.
"Uh..." I tried to stay with him on this.
I was having flashbacks to when I helped teach a group of 13 year old Japanese exchange students. They could read the words in their dictionary, but often had problems pronouncing them. This resulted in a increasingly hysterical young woman wailing "Ah-Doo-Ka-Dee!" at me in the middle of the grocery store, while making poof poof gestures with her hands, and throwing in a few explosion sound effects for good measure. We finally figured out she wanted to buy some alkaline batteries.
Actually, colorful word choice is a time-honored tradition in our family. My siblings and I called grapes "bipes," flowers were "dowies" and my sister wins the obscure award for "loppies," her word for english muffins.
Naturally, when my children began to talk, I expected that there would be some interesting words to surface. My oldest had a scene at the age of 19 months, where she repeated "Ap-thai-yah, bo-keen" over and over, sobbing in frustration at our stupidity in the face of her perfectly good Big Girl words. All the other babies at the hospital got the smart parents. Why? Why did she have to be sent home with the two stupidest humans on the planet? After much teeth gnashing and wailing, we ascertained that her umbrella was broken. Whereupon she promptly began calling her umbrella an "Ah-mick-ah." That girl likes to keep us on our toes.
My son is actually very verbal. He has a giant vocabulary, and loves to ramble on and on. He also has a speech quirk (I think it's developmental, we'll see) that gives him a little bit of the Fudd. That's wight, wascally wabbit. He hears himself saying it right, so when we mimic him tawking wike Ewmuh, he acts like we're garden variety idiots (which, as our oldest figured out, is pretty much the case) and makes us say it correctly.
Actually, my brother had a similar speech issue. He referred to my sister and me as "Da Gulls." One of the funny memories from our childhood has my four year old brother standing on his tip-toes to order his own meal at the local Foster's Freeze. He hooked a thumb backwards over his shoulder at my sister and I and announced "Them's gulls ah gonna have a gull-cheese, and I'm a gonna have a boy-cheese." Come to think of it, this may have been the same outing that we got ice cream cones for dessert. My parents had my brother stand outside the car to eat his cone, while the rest of us sat in our seats. He stood happily on the curb at the center of the hood, waving through the windshield between giant, drippy licks.
Whoa, memory lane whiplash.
Anyway, my son, the future pirate was giving me the "don't be an idiot look." I waited for him to elaborate.
The boy: "Mommy, I'm going to be a pirate, you know, that flies up in the sky."
Me: "Uh, a sky-pirate?"
Boy: "No! An airplane pirate. You know?"
Me: "Ah! A PILOT. Yes. So you are going to fly airplanes?"
Boy: "No. Like the balloons."
Me: "Hot Air Balloon?"
Boy: "No. Mommy. No, you know, it's bigger. Ah, ah, ah, BWIMP!"
Me: "Bless you."
Boy: "Mommy! No. Ah BWIMP PIRATE."
Me: "Cool. Those are also called Zepplin or Dirgible Airships."
Boy: "Uh...(processing that extra information) or we can be paleontologists and dig up dinosaurs!"
Me: "Or astronauts!"
Boy: "Yeah, but I wouldn't like the rocket part. That's scary."
This kid is SO my son.